March 10, 2014
Midterm - March 12th Wednesday
➔ Media Effects: Can the media change public opinion?
◆ What effect do media messages actually have on public opinion?
◆ Under what conditions do these effects manifest themselves?
◆ Which individuals are most susceptible to these effects?
➔ Propoganda School
◆ Incredibly Persuasive
● Cause people to actually move and act
◆ Change opinion and behavior simply by airing the news
◆ War of the Worlds
● Radio broadcast that was FICTIONAL
● People thought it was real and people evacuated, went outside and
looked for aliens
➔ Minimal Effects School
● Reception/Acceptance Model
○ Most individuals don’t know much about politics
○ Don’t necessarily care
○ Not paying full attention to news
○ May be exposed to message but they can’t actually
● Who is Likely to Receive?
○ More educated, engaged, interested individuals
● Characteristic of the source
● Strength of pre-existing attitude
● Communication Environment (Content/Consensual)
● Who is most likely to accept?
○ Less: Educated, engaged, interested
○ Persuasive media?? No..
● Media doesn’t change attitude, only reinforces existing attitudes ● Evidence of Reception/Acceptance Model
○ Presidential Debates
◆ Media Interpretations have little effect on partisans
● Exceptions of Reception/Acceptance Model
○ Presidential Primary Elections
Reception is Low
● Info is low
◆ Information is difficult to come by
No party identification
○ Media, through simply reporting the news, can alter how
people feel about politics
○ 9/11 and Presidential Approval Ratings
◆ Mass exposure
Event is easily understood
◆ High frequency
◆ Consistent Message
● Every time you turn on the news, there is
a message that is consistent throughout all
● Every democrat and every republican during 9/
11 ALL agreed to stand by the president
● Public opinion supported the president -
almost 90% of all Americans
○ Renewed Respect
◆ Media does not do a good job of telling people what to
Media DOES do a good job of telling people what to
● Agenda Setting
○ Ability of t